What is corned beef?
Corned beef is made from beef brisket that has been cured in a flavorful brine. The name comes from the brining process. The grains of salt used to make the brine were once referred to as “corns” of salt.
Tips for cooking corned beef
- Rinse the brisket with cool water. You are not rinsing away flavor because the meat is fully infused with flavor.
- Corned beef should be cooked with long, slow heat. A low, gentle simmer on the stovetop or in the slow cooker are two good methods. You can also roast the corned beef.
- Since brisket is a tough cut of meat, cooking it requires patience. When cooking on a stovetop, cook at least 3 hours in a covered pot over low heat. When using your slow cooker, plan on 8-10 hours. It should be very tender when it’s finished cooking.
- If you are boiling the meat, make sure your corned beef is fully submerged in water for the tenderest result.
- When slicing corned beef, cut against the grain. Look for the lines of muscle fibers and cut perpendicular to these. This looks prettier and makes it easier to chew.
Corned Beef with Cabbage
1 corned beef brisket
Optional: 1 teaspoon pickling spice
1 bay leaf
1 medium head green cabbage, cut into thick wedges
- Rinse the corned beef and place in a large pot with the pickling spices, bay leaf, and enough cold water to completely cover the meat.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to skim off any foam that forms on the top. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 3 hours.
- Add the cabbage wedges. Increase the heat to return to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until cabbage is tender.
- Remove meat from the pot and let rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board, loosely covered with foil. Remove the bay leaf from the pot.
- Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve in a bowl topped with the cabbage and some of the cooking liquid. Serve with dark bread and grainy mustard.
Note: you can add potatoes, carrots, and onions along with the cabbage. Cut them into large chunks. You can also add beer to the cooking liquid for added flavor.